Just to give everyone an update, Tim drove to the desert last night to be with his family for his dad's triple bypass surgery today. Just so there are no misconceptions, this surgery was scheduled well in advance and was not an emergency procedure as the result of a heart attack. It was decided that after his dad had his second angioplasty in four or five years that he was a candidate for bypass surgery.
We had an after-work bowling night. Normally stuff I do like this doesn't make into the blog since it's not exactly breaking news. But I just happen to like taking bowling pictures (fun butt shots), and this gives me a great excuse!
In 2005 and 2006, we did it really close to her birthday. But this year, because we were visiting Jon in the hospital the night of her birthday, we postponed the celebration dinner until tonight. (She actually celebrated her "birthday month" for the entire duration of August, so even by her standard, we weren't late).
This year we picked French 75 Bistro in Irvine, where through the magic of Costco, we had 20% off. (Mom would have been so proud about that fact). I really enjoyed it.
I had a nice french onion soup gratinée, followed by a delicious coq au vin, which I paired with a glass of Bordeaux wine. Tim had a shrimp en cassolette appetizer, sea bass and crème brûlée (no wine for him, since immediately after dinner he drove to Las Vegas to be with his mom and dad for dad's triple bypass surgery).
It was a great dinner, and a great opportunity to remember my mom. Happy birthday month.
Once they started a round of drinker's ping pong. In case you're not aware of how to play, you put your drink on the ping pong table in front of you. When your opponent hits your drink with the ball, you take a drink. If he gets the ball in your drink, you have to chug it. I didn't play, but Tim did and let's just say he drank a lot more than his opponent. :)
We saw lots of Dana & Eric's old friends. My particular favorite is Debbie, this wild, crazy, blonde friend of theirs who becomes the center of attention at any event. I've pondered the idea of taking her to my high school reunion this October and telling everyone she was my wife. You know, just for shits and giggles. We'd be the talk of the night!
At the end of the night, we were sitting around Dana and Eric's new firepit, roasting marshmallows and singing campfire songs. Christine's versions of campfire songs, anyway, which are a riot (but not exactly the kind you want to sing when there's kids around, if you get my drift).
Tonight we attended the third of the four-part Free for All Movie Mondays series. Tonight's film: the 1980 cult classic, Xanadu. This time we invited others to join us, and Scott and Jill took the bait.
Tim and I definitely disagree about Olivia Newton-John musicals. I'm definitely all about Grease, which is like one of the best movies ever. Tim hates Grease and loves Xanadu (although I think Tim's hatred of Grease has more to do with his sister who would watch the videotape over and over again).
But I do appreciate Xanadu in that campy, cheesy sort-of way (kind of like red velvet cake), so it was a fun night.
We got some bad news a couple of days ago. Our close friend Jon was hospitalized. Last Sunday around 10:00 a.m., he basically collapsed and went unconscious. Amy immediately called 911, then turned him over and thinking it was a heart-attack of some sort, began doing chest compressions.
Minutes later, before the paramedics arrived, Jon came to, but had no recollection of anything that just happened. After the ambulance arrived, he passed out again and Jon actually flatlined for about 15 seconds.
The ambulance took him to Long Beach Community hospital where he was admitted to the ICU. Initial tests showed that Jon had a stroke. But then another test confirmed it was not likely a stroke, but could be encephalitis or meningitis.
Regardless of the cause, Jon is currently mentally impaired. He has trouble putting complete sentences together and has trouble finding words. But besides that, he looks and sounds good. We saw him in the hospital.
It's not too often that you get to meet a brand new brother. That was the primary reason I made a trip up to Northern California this weekend. Although my newest sibling was born in June, I haven't had a chance to visit until now.
Little Miguel Angel is exactly that ... an angel. You know how when people have kids, there's typically an easy one and a hard one? Well Miguel Angel is the easy one. He hardly cries. He doesn't mind when other people hold him. And he can sit contentedly in his baby seat for long stretches of time without fussing.
Conversely, John Paul has finally started his terrible two's (even though he just turned three). He's definitely in a transitory stage where he's learning that he's not an only child. But the good thing about his getting older is that he's not so attached to mom. I was actually able to take him and Anna to the park without one of his parents having to be there (Anna was always willing to go without one of her parents, but John Paul wasn't).
Anna was her typical sweet self, of course. Hopefully she and Miguel Angel will rub off on John Paul.
I didn't really do a lot while I was there other than hang out with the immediate family. I didn't make any side trips, other than a quick visit to the cemetery to take flowers to my mom, and I also took Anna to see Ratatouille which we both enjoyed.
The Orange County Performing Arts Center kicked off a great new program this summer: Free for All Movie Mondays - free outdoor film screenings under the stars. The series began with Singin' in the Rain, justifiably considered the greatest movie musical ever made (and one of Tim's favorites).
Today we did something that I have been wanting to do for more than 10 years but never got around to until today: Attend the House of Blues' acclaimed Gospel Brunch. Amy set it up for Jon's birthday. Of course we would have gone wherever Jon's birthday was, but the fact that they picked something we've wanted to do for a long time was icing on the birthday cake.
The food was great. The entertainment was even better (I believe the band's name was Little Dynamite and the Revelators). Jon put it best when he said they could have backed up James Brown! It was a fun morning, and hopefully a memorable birthday for Jon.
The Clay Aiken chapter of my life has officially closed. I came to this realization during the Los Angeles leg of his long-anticipated nationwide tour. He hasn't had a public concert in California since his 2004 Christmas concert, and I had been looking forward to seeing Clay perform his non-Christmas songs. Alas, his show proved to be quite disappointing.
He almost exclusively performed the cover songs off the new album, with only two Clay Aiken original songs ("Lover All Alone" from A Thousand Different Ways and "Measure of a Man" from his first album). Otherwise it was all other people's stuff. He never sang "Invisible," "The Way," or "This is the Night." His final song of the night was Celine Dion's "The Way You Love Me," which is a great song. However, I wouldn't exactly suggest that song as a closing number unless your name is Celine Dion.
Plus he wasted so much time with his two cheesy medley numbers. One was a medley of TV show theme songs. And another was a medley of "cool" songs that he would normally not sing (like "Baby Got Back," or Justin Timberlake's "Sexy Back"). So stupid.
I also had an issue with his between-song banter. Most of the time, good performers will fill the moments between songs with funny stories or other interesting anecdotes. For Clay, most of his between-song banter comprised of joking around with his backup singers. It was fine for a little while, but after a while, it started to feel like the audience members were outsiders in all these inside jokes.
We couldn't really stay at his party for too long due to previous plans, however we did manage to make a cameo appearance. His parties are always interesting. You always meet a variety of people. Hope your birthday was great Scottie!